Flavors of Carnavales in Peru

Flavors of Carnavales in Peru

All over the world, there are foods and dishes that people associate with different times of the year – autumn in the United States wouldn’t be the same without pumpkin pie, for example. In Peru you will find that there are foods special to each time of year as well! Right now we are in the middle of Carnavales, and so this is the perfect time to showcase the flavors of carnavales in Peru!

There are many delicious dishes to try during this time of year. However for today, we will provide you with the recipes to prepare a full Carnaval meal, complete with soup, entrée, and dessert!

In Peru, it is very common to find a Menú of the Day for lunch, and these nearly always start with a soup. One very typical soup that you may find during Carnavales is what is called “Chupe de Peras”, or “Pear Chowder”. This is a delicious, savory soup with pears added, to give it a sweet little something extra. The recipe is often quite complicated, however here is an easy version so you can give this Peruvian soup a try at home:

Chupe de Peras:

Ingredients for 10 persons:

  • 1 1/2 kilos of meat
  • 1 small piece of chalona (salted, dried meat)
  • 1 kilo of potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of wheat berries
  • 20 small pears, already stewed

For the rehogado (flavoring):

  • 1 cup of finely diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • salt as needed
  • oil

Preparation:

  1. Boil the meat together with carrots, onion, garlic, salt, and chalona, to form a flavorful broth (usually about 1 – 2 hours).
  2. Strain the broth.
  3. Prepare the rehogado with the onions, garlic, 1/2 cup oil and pepper, let it cook well, until the onions are clear.
  4. Place the potatoes and wheat berries (and meat if it is still tough) into a pressure cooker with the meat broth, and cook for approximately 10 – 15 minutes, giving the potatoes and wheat berries time to get tender.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
  6. Pour this mixture over the rehogado, and let it simmer for a bit to absorb the flavors.
  7. Before serving add a bundle of oregano, yerba buena(mint), and cilantro.
  8. Serve by placing two pears, previously stewed, in each bowl, and pouring the soup on top.

Next, you need a hearty entrée to get you through the celebration and flavors of Carnavales in Peru! What better dish than a traditional puchero, a mix of delicious, hearty flavors that brings together friends and family, celebrating the festive feeling of this time of year?

Puchero:

Ingredients: for 10 persons:

  • 1kg of beef
  • 1kg of lamb meat
  • ½ kilo of chalona or cecina (salted, dried meat)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • A celery stalk
  • 6 choclos (ears of fresh big, Peruvian corn)
  • 4 Carrots
  • ½ Morayas (white, freeze dried potatoes)
  • 1 cabbage
  • chickpeas
  • ½ kilo Rice
  • 6 small potatoes
  • 1 kilo of yucca
  • 1 bundle of asnapa (Cusco’s traditional herbs)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Boil 5 liters of water
  2. Once boiling, add 3 cloves of garlic, the celery, the pieces of lamb, beef and the chalona. Also add the herbs and flavoring that will give the special touch to the broth.
  3. Wait until the meat cooks before adding the potatoes, yucca, and carrot.
  4. When the potatoes, yucca, and carrot are nearly tender, add the sweet potato and the moraya.
  5. When all of the vegetables are tender, the soup portion is ready.
  6. In a separate pot, boil the rice with the chickpeas, until they are tender (if you are at high altitude, use a pressure cooker).
  7. When ready, mix the rice and chickpeas into the broth.
  8. Separate the broth from the vegetables and meats.
  9. Serve the stew in a large dish and the broth in another.

This dish is best served with uchucuta, which is a hot sauce made with rocoto peppers, however it will be delicious with your favorite hot sauce as well, or even just on its own!

And what meal would be complete without a lovely dessert to round it out? Dulce de duraznos is a perfect way to end the meal, and very easy to make! This tasty treat can be enjoyed year round, but is most popular during the festive celebrations of Carnavales.

Dulce de duraznos:

Ingredients:

  • 12 mature but firm peaches
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 liter of water

Preparation:

  1. Clean and peel the peaches
  2. Pour the water in a large pot with the peaches, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice and simmer.
  3. Cook over low heat until the peaches are white and the liquid becomes slightly syrupy.
  4. Serve warm, with ice cream if you like.

Carnavales are a special, festive time in Peru, with its typical foods adding to the flavor and excitement! If your trip to Peru lands during Carnavales, perhaps you will find one, or all, of these dishes to try! If not, use these easy recipes to conjure up a festive meal at home!

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